Lead Counselor for PUSD’s Social-Emotional Team, Ann Chavez is helping the district and the community promote student success

By Tara Fort • Photos by Trisha Shaffer

Prescott has provided Ann Chavez, the Lead Counselor for the Social-Emotional Team of Prescott Unified School District (PUSD), the strength in the community that maintains the tradition of “being there for the kids.”

Ann has lived in Prescott since age 14 when her parents started the original Prescott Pantry at Marler’s Square on Sheldon and Grove. As a proud alum of Prescott High School, she relishes the opportunity to serve children within the very district she attended.

“I have a special place in my heart for kids who had a rough start in life,” Ann said. “I love helping kids grow and become closer to their authentic selves.”

Bob Williams, then Principal at Miller Valley School, hired Ann as the Title One Social Worker. In her current role, she works with all elementary schools within PUSD. With previous employment that included West Yavapai Guidance Clinic and a methadone clinic in Phoenix where she started a group for pregnant mothers, Ann said she enjoys working with local agencies to collectively provide for the kids in the community.

She added, “I especially love that my day is full of fun, amazing children who fill me with wonder at their resilience. No day is the same, and this year has been especially intense. I am so glad that we have made it through.”

Community support for the district and its students comes in many forms, and Ann is quick to cite a fundraiser for a student whose home had burned down. “Parents donated furniture and money to help the family rebuild. A total stranger bought a cupcake for $100. Another parent helped out and said he could relate to the devastation the family was experiencing. That’s what a healthy community does — we take care of our kids. PUSD helps the whole child and this, in turn, helps those children learn.”

Kelsey Secor, Principal at Taylor Hicks Elementary said, “Ann Chavez has been a fierce advocate for growing PUSD’s programs because she knows that social and emotional learning plays a critical role in promoting a student’s success. She uses her time to empower PUSD staff by teaching and modeling ways to help students build skills in self-awareness, self-management, emotional regulation, social awareness, decision making, and relationship building. Mrs. Chavez has a heart of gold and a desire to make the world a better place.”

Ann is grateful. “I am so lucky that PUSD has made social-emotional counselors a priority. My hope is that every school will eventually have a full-time social-emotional counselor to be a part of the basic fabric of the school and help kids become complete learners.”

For more information about Ann Chavez and the Prescott Unified School District, visit www.prescottschools.com